Back at the villa, Banu explains that he has a message for Gar that arrived some time ago. He hadn’t delivered it considering the urgency of the other tasks at hand, particularly the part where they had to fake their own deaths in order to avoid becoming among the Empire’s most wanted.
Playing the recorded holo message shows a female Wookiee addressing Gar. The Wookiee introduces herself as K-Wa and explains that Gar’s former friend, Iza Tuh, desperately needs his help on Kashyyyk. Iza Tuh can be found at an Imperial bunker on the Wookiee home world. Before ending the message, K-Wa pleads for Gar’s help, saying that lives are at stake.
The group knows that Kashyyyk is normally in a state of chaos, with both Trandoshans and the Empire regularly raiding the planet to capture Wookiees for use as slave labor. Browsing Banu’s library, they find a book about the planet. Not only does the book contain several useful maps, but it also indicates that the annual Life Day celebration is just a few days away. With some mixed feelings about his former friend that eventually betrayed him, Gar admits that the request seems unusual and urgent enough to investigate further.
Upon arriving on Kashyyyk, the group finds the area immediately surrounding the space port mostly absent of Wookiees. They decide to head to one of the local shops. Locating a nearby hunting supply store, they head inside and are greeted by a Trandoshan shopkeeper. When the crew asks him where all the Wookiees are, he explains that they’ve all gone to the Great Tree in preparation of the Life Day celebration the following day. They ask him about if he knows anything about Imperial bunkers on the planet, and he says that there is an Imperial presence that steadily comes and goes, but he is not aware of any bunkers.
Pressed further for more information, the Trandoshan explains that he’s simply trying to run a business and doesn’t pay much attention to the politics and goings on around the planet, but he does believe something strange is going on in the forest. He has several customers who rented hunting equipment who saw something that completely terrified them and caused them to flee immediately, sometimes barely stopping at the door before dropping off their rented gear and leaving the planet. The shop keeper doesn’t know what it is, but he’s seen some brave hunters scared by it, so he suspects it’s something truly frightening.
The next day, the crew heads out to the great tree to the Life Day celebration. Entrance into the area is blocked by two Wookiee guards, who explain the celebration is only open to Wookiees and invited guests. Gar says that they’ve received a message from someone named K-Wa and he shows them a still image of her from the recorded message. The guards look at each other, clearly knowing the female Wookiee who sent the message. After some brief consideration, the guards say the group should speak with Koo Chu, a Wookiee elder and K-Wa’s father. They explain where Koo Chu can be found and allow the group to enter.
Making their way up along the branches of the gigantic tree and through the throng of revelers and asking for some direction, the group locates Koo Chu. The group approaches Koo Chu and wishes him a happy Life Day. Gar explains that he is there at the request of K-Wa. At the mention of his daughter’s name, Koo Chu bares his teeth and grabs Gar violently, demanding to know what he did with his daughter. Gar insists he doesn’t know where she is but may have some information that could help find her. Koo Chu quickly regains his composure, and invites the group into a nearby hut where they can speak privately.
The group plays the recorded message from K-Wa for her father to see. After viewing the recording, Koo Chu looks both sad and angry. He explains that his daughter was captured by slavers several months ago. The Wookiees have sent some scouts to observe the slaver camps in hopes they would find her, but she has not been spotted for several weeks. At this point, she’s presumed dead. The Wookiees do not have the resources to conduct a full frontal assault on the highly fortified slaver camp.
The discussion is interrupted by loud noises coming from outside the hut, with the sound of cracking branches, shouting, and sporadic blaster fire. Gastro is the first out of the hut to see what is causing the commotion. He spots several Trandoshan slavers descending from the tree branches above and attacking the celebration. As Gastro notifies the rest of the group of what he sees, Koo Chu and the others exit the hut and enter the fray. A Trandoshan launches a bola towards Gastro’s legs, tripping him up and sending the droid crashing to the ground.
The group quickly engages the Trandoshan attackers. Mallinia dismembers two of them with precise yet deadly swipes of her vibroaxe. Gastro lifts himself off the ground and takes out another slaver with a precise head shot. Gar uses some motivational shouts to rally other Wookiees into the fight. Koo Chu charges towards what appears to be the leader of the attackers, and engages with him in one-on-one melee combat. Ney tosses a grenade that manages to knock one of the slavers off the large branch and down into the depths below.
As the tide turns against the attackers, the group quickly communicates to one another the idea of taking the leader alive. While the leader now seems to have gotten the upper hand on Koo Chu, the group approaches and knock him out from behind and drag him off back into the nearby tent. While a few slavers did manage to get away with a slave or two in their nets, the Trandoshan attack has been repelled.
Inside the tent, the group ties the Trandoshan to a chair and revives him back to consciousness. Koo Chu confirms that this slaver wears the markings of the same group of slavers that kidnapped K-Wa. In hopes of learning more about her whereabouts, the group begins to question the Trandoshan. They ask if he knows of K-Wa, and the slaver confirms that they have her at their camp. Gar tries a civilized approach towards learning more, trying to appeal to the slaver’s sense of doing what is right given his situation and alluding to a possible prisoner exchange – the group would return him to his fellow slavers in exchange for K-Wa’s safe return. The Trandoshan scoffs at the idea, saying that K-Wa is way more valuable than he is. The slaver explains that with K-Wa’s expertise in healing, the slavers force her to care for any of their Wookiee slaves who are injured or become ill. She has saved the lives of several slaves, which means more profit for the slavers.
Tiro approaches the slaver next and takes a less subtle approach. With large wire cutters in hand, Tiro threatens the Trandoshan – If he doesn’t tell them what they want to know, he’ll begin cutting off his fingers. Sufficiently intimidated by the threat, the slaver explains details regarding exactly which camp K-Wa is being held in and offers some details about the camp’s security. With this information, the group asks Koo Chu for support from some Wookiee warriors as the group plans to attack the camp and rescue K-Wa. Koo Chu agrees, and summons several of his fiercest and most loyal warriors to accompany the group on the mission.
Utilizing the same tactics the Trandoshan slavers used in their attack on the Life Day celebration, the crew and their squad of Wookiee commandos decide to descend upon the slaver camp from above. Rappelling down on ropes from the dense tree branches above, the group lands within the outer defense of the camp. Multiple groups of Wookiees land near patrolling guards and engage with them, while the crew member land on top of the largest building in the camp.
Ney hangs over the edge of the roof and peeks into the window of the building they’re on top of. He sees K-Wa inside, apparently alone. Gar and Mallinia drop down and walk in through the front door of the building, unnoticed as the Wookiees engage with the guards in areas spread around the camp. Upon entering, Gar explains they’re here to rescue her since she’s the one that sent him the message about Iza Tuh. K-Wa is happy to see them, but seems surprised they’ve been able to infiltrate the secured camp to rescue her. Gar explains that combat is going on outside and that her father sent several Wookiees to assist the rescue mission. He believes that they can sneak out through the chaos. K-Wa follows them outside, where the rest of the crew joins them from on the roof, and they rush out the front gate while the battle around them rages.
K-Wa quickly leads them to a nearby Wookiee camp where they will be safe for the time being. As the Wookiees greet them, Mallinia inexplicably insists on being carried in as hero and jumps on the backs of a pair of Wookiees. Annoyed at this odd action, the Wookiees forego their usual hospitality and leave the group alone with K-Wa.
As the rest of the Wookiees involved in the slaver camp mission arrive at the camp, Gar assists K-Wa with mending their wounds. Gar talks to her about her time in the slaver camp, and she explains that she was forced to nurse wounded Wookiees back to health before they were sold off to slavery. While she hated helping the slavers, she really had no choice, and she did save the lives of several Wookiees who came to her severely injured. But she wonders if they would have been better off allowed to die rather than becoming slaves.
On the subject of Iza Tuh, Gar asks why he should continue to help someone who betrayed him? K-Wa says that Gar doesn’t know the full story, and that Iza spoke about Gar often and has his own side of the story. Skeptical that the other side of the story would be an acceptable reason for ruining his career, Gar does agree to help considering the mutual respect that’s been developing between himself, K-Wa, and her father. Gar believes that if K-Wa respects Iza and is insisting he deserves to be helped, then there may be something to what she is saying after all.
K-Wa explains that Iza is in an Imperial bunker in the Dead Forest, and desperately needs help. Alleged “walking dead” have been seen in the area, and it’s considered a very dangerous place. Mallinia is reluctant to go into the Dead Forest and had previously expressed some reservations about possibly heading there since first noticing it on a map. Gar tries to convince her that the forest can’t be any more dangerous than her home planet of Dathomir, but Mallinia is unconvinced, saying rancors aren’t that frightening if you know how to pet them just the right way. As the rest of the group and K-Wa head off walking through the dense forest towards the Dead Forest, Mallinia reluctantly decides to join them and follows the group at a distance while sulking.
On their way there, a rustling noise in the woods behind them the gets the group’s attention. A staggering, groaning, glossy eyed and blank faced being shambles towards them. Clearly one of the “zombies” sighted in the area, Mallinia calmly steps up to it and cuts its head off with a clean swipe. Another zombie appears from the other direction. Gastro takes aim and puts it down with a shot between its eyes. Gar investigates the body and finds the Rebel insignia on their clothing. Further medical examination reveals a disease that is nothing like he’s seen before. Upon cutting open the body, he finds the internal organs had actually liquefied.
Without further incident, the group arrives at the bunker, which has no signs of life and is not locked down. Gastro goes in first since his droid self can’t be infected by the disease. Venturing deeper inside, he finds the medical center of the bunker and comms back to the group it’s all clear. They make their way in and join Gastro, where they find Iza Tuh encased in carbonite. K-Wa approaches and touches his frozen face, saddened to see him like this. She explains that there should be a journal around nearby. The group finds the journal, and activates it. A recording of the doctor plays.
The first recorded journal entry explains that Iza has been forced by the Empire to develop a virus to turn people into aggressive mindless creatures that infect and kill one another. The gestation period is short, so infecting an area with the virus leads to it spreading quickly, wiping out all living beings there. The Empire intends to use the virus as a weapon. While Iza didn’t want to work on such a diabolical project, the Empire gave him no choice, threatening not only his life, but the lives of his entire family.
The second journal entry shows the doctor talking about being close to developing a vaccine against the virus. While being inoculated with the vaccine will prevent infection, it will not cure someone who is already infected. As the video is about to end, one of the zombies comes out of nowhere and bites Iza on the shoulder. The recording ends as the doctor screams while fighting off his attacker.
The third video shows a pale looking and serious Iza Tuh. He explains that while he has finished developing the vaccine, but has not developed the actual cure for those infected. Since he was infected before the vaccine was finished, he is now slowly turning into one of them, his mind starting to go and his organs eventually liquefying. He intends to freeze himself in carbonite to slow the process. At this point, he pleads with Gar to find the cure, not just to save him, but to protect the galaxy as a whole from this deadly virus he created.
As they finish watching the final entry, Gar says that now would probably be a good time for K-Wa to tell Iza’s side of the story regarding their past. K-Wa explains that Iza overheard some of the executives at the medical school talking about how the Empire was going to claim the top students from the class and force them to work for them on "special” biological weapons projects. Iza knew this meant a dangerous and unfulfilling life, essentially becoming a slave to the Empire. Given his loyalty and friendship to his friend, Iza decided to spare Gar from the Empire’s grasp by sacrificing himself. That’s why Iza implicated Gar in the cheating scandal – to prevent him from becoming a servant of the Empire. Gar considers the story for several long moments, and realizes it must be true. Given their camaraderie and friendship to that point, it’s the only explanation that makes sense.
While Tiro downloads the medical records from the lab’s computer, Gar locates several syringes full of the vaccine and offers it to the crew. He injects Ney, Tiro, and himself with the vaccine, but Mallinia declines it, saying she doesn’t trust the needle. Gar looks over the medical records and finds that the doctor believes an Alderaanian flower may be the key ingredient in the cure. With Alderaan destroyed by the Empire, finding that may be difficult.
Ney recalls that there was a park on Cloud City that was developed in the memory of Alderaan, and suggests maybe the flower could be found there. The crew tries to call Aris to ask about that possibility, but they are unable to get a signal through to her. With that possibility not an option, the crew begins to consider other possible sources of a flower from an extinct planet…
XP Awarded: 15 XP